Girl em[Power]ment – Sandra Johnson MD, FAAD

Girl em[Power]ment – A Series of Short Essays.

Over the next few months Flancake.co will be bringing you the Girl em[Power]ment series, which consists of interviews with several working women of all ages in different stages of their career. These are women I not only find inspiring and interesting, but who I think women of all ages should know about and learn from. These women hold careers in several different industries, from creative design to politics. They’ll give us an inside look into what their job is like, how they got there, share their advice for twenty-somethings, and touch on what Girl em[Power]ment means to them.

[be sure to follow along on insta – @girlempowerment]

I’m so excited to introduce to you a women that has quite literally changed my life, who I’m so honored agreed to participate in the Girl em[Power]ment series. But first, a quick story about myself [warning: it’s about to get real].

Usually middle school is a terrible time for teens – they must endure all kind of weird hormones, it’s a terribly awkward time with boys and mean girls, oh – and on top of that, acne is usually a huge problem. With all that said, I honestly did not have it that bad in middle school. High school is when the acne came. Thankfully I really never had problems with self-confidence because of my skin [I know several people that have…], but I still wanted to express myself through makeup and fashion, which was hard with my pimply skin. I would’t dare let it show, but I was so embarrassed about my skin. All my friends had already had their awkward faze, so I couldn’t understand why it was just happening to me.
Enter Dr. Johnson, whom my mother had been going to see for a long time. Since my skin wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been, first we tried laser treatment. This procedure was reserved mostly for events – like prom and homecoming, as it would cause your skin to “swell up” and be virtually perfect the day after treatment. This worked – for a while. Next were the pills. I’ve taken almost every kind of acne treatment drug out there. They all worked – for a while, but then my pimples would eventually come back. They were always there, not in full force – but still there.
Finally, during my freshman year of college, I walked in one day and Dr. Johnson sat down with mom and I to talk about Accutane [I won’t go into detail about that experience – but it was ultimately SO worth it]. We decided this was what I needed to do to once and for all get rid of the lingering acne. It was a 6 month long process that was rather intensive, but the results honestly were life changing. Throughout the whole experience, Dr. Johnson was by my side making sure everything was how it should be and to make sure my mental state was in check as well. After the Accutane, I didn’t really have the boost of the “self-confidence factor” like some people did, but I was so much happier with my overall image. Dr. Johnson really helped me get to where I knew I wasn’t perfect, but happy with the skin I am in.

The fact that she has helped SO many men and women realize their full potential is remarkable. She has not only taught me to really wear sunscreen every day, but to also embrace my creative side. Every time I get to visit with her she’s always genuinely interested in what I’ve got going on – making her an incredible Girl em[Power]ment influencer that I’m so excited to share with you all.
Oh, and she has over 50 publications, has written a book, has two patents, and has been in numerous magazine write ups. So yeah, she’s got it going on.

Introducing Dr. Sandy Johnson, MD, FAAD, of Johnson Dermatology 
Website – JohnsonDermatology.com
Facebook – Johnson Dermatology

Q: What is your current job title, and can you please briefly explain your career path?
A: I am a board certified Dermatologist and co-business owner of Johnson Dermatology [with my husband who is also a board certified Dermatologist]. I knew from at least the age of 5 that I wanted to be a doctor. I went to Our Lady of Mt Carmel from preschool until 8th grade. I went to Niles McKinley High School for 9th through 12th grades. These are both in Niles Ohio. I then entered a combined 6 year college and medical school program at Youngstown State University and Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, NEOUCOM. I graduated in 1996 then moved to Little Rock Arkansas for Dermatology residency at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, UAMS. After completing training, I stayed on faculty at UAMS specializing in cosmetic dermatology and clinical trials for 4 more years. I then moved back to Ohio for my husband Brad to complete a 2 year Dermatologic surgery fellowship. We moved to our permanent home and his childhood home in Greenwood/Fort Smith Arkansas in 2006 to open Johnson Dermatology. I am thoroughly enjoying this journey.

Q: How do you deal with negativity towards women in the work place [if at all]?
A: I choose to see only the positive whenever possible. If and when a negative thought is encountered, I try to think of at least 3 positive thoughts. Currently those are:
1. As Bryan Adams says: “Ain’t no use complaining when you got a job to do”. So I try to keep doing my job.
2. As [my husband] Brad says “quality always and eventually wins”. So I try to always do the right thing and give my best.
3. As Taylor Swift says “haters gonna hate”. So I try to shake it off. I really enjoy running and dancing.

Q: Who are your role models or mentors that you look up to?
A: My parents: They taught me the value of hard work. They taught me to love God and family. I still rely on them for so much in life. They moved from Ohio to our backyard in Arkansas to help us with our children. I am forever indebted to them.
Dr. Bob Brodell is why I chose Dermatology. He has inspired me in so many ways. His love for the skin is contagious. He exudes positive energy.
My mother in law. She is a testament to the fact that if you work hard, dreams will come true. She also taught me how to be a woman in the workplace. She also still can do more push-ups and pull-ups than I can.

Q: Have you ever felt unsure of yourself or felt that you weren’t “enough”, and how did you overcome that?
A: The first experience that comes to mind was when I was college chemistry and the professor made a comment about how women struggle with the concepts.  I had some self-doubt but was determined to give my best.  A few years later, his wife was sick in the hospital.  It was a big ego booster when I was a student in a team of all women doctors and nurses caring for her. 

Q: What are other things you do [hobbies, projects, interest] that you feel passionate about?
A: I love my family which I why I chose a picture of us for this blog.  The best decision I ever made in my life was to marry Brad Johnson.  He makes me a better person.  I love him and his family [trust me: you not only marry the person but you also marry their family].  He is a wonderful business and life partner. 

I am happiest when my physical, spiritual, emotional and mental aspects are all in harmony.  It is important to me to take time to thank a higher power for my gifts [for me that is God] as well as to get some physical activity on a regular basis. 

Q: Is there anyone you think that is making a difference in women empowerment that you think we should all know about?
A: I really enjoyed the book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg.  I enjoy following Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls on Facebook.  I try to surround myself with strong beautiful women.  Our Dermatopathologist Dr. Amy Hudson recently shared a quote with our team at Johnson Dermatology that is poignant:  girls compete with each other; women empower each other. 

I am very thankful for all of the teachers that empowered me when I was in school.  Most notably, Mrs Rathburn who was my high school biology teacher who encouraged me to follow my dreams and apply to medical school.  I would also like to thank my mom and the other moms in my hometown who coached the first all-girls soccer team in our town.  Playing youth sports was a very important motivator and confidence builder for me.  I would like to thank every teacher, coach, counselor, educator and friend to our youth. 

Q: What do you do in your free time to relax?
A: I relax and recharge by spending time with family and friends, running [I have run 8 marathons], and praying.  I also really enjoy travelling. 

Q: What career and/or life advice would you give to your twenty-year-old self?
A: Follow your heart.  I love what I do and don’t feel like this is work.  I am blessed that I am paid to do what I love. Enjoy the journey but be careful—I am thankful the internet was not around when I was 20 years old. Enjoy dating but take your marriage partner seriously.  My life is so much better after meeting and marrying Brad Johnson. One of my life mottos is “Your life is God’s gift to you.  What you do with it is your gift to God.” 

Q: What does Girl em[Power]ment mean to you?
A: It means exceeding the wishes that my mom had for me while being the person I would like my daughter to emulate.  It means climbing the ladder while bringing up others with me and even pushing them to rise past me.  It means always giving your best and giving it with a smile.  Our unpublished mission at Johnson Dermatology is to do everything with the 3 E’s:  Effective [do it right], Efficient [do it right the first time] and Empathic [do it with caring].   I am thinking we may need to add a fourth E: Empower. 

Girl em[Power]ment – Sabrina

Girl em[Power]ment – A Series of Short Essays.

Over the next few months Flancake.co will be bringing you the Girl em[Power]ment series, which consists of interviews with several working women of all ages in different stages of their career. These are women I not only find inspiring and interesting, but who I think women of all ages should know about and learn from. These women hold careers in several different industries, from creative design to politics. They’ll give us an inside look into what their job is like, how they got there, share their advice for twenty-somethings, and touch on what Girl em[Power]ment means to them.

[don’t miss a post–follow along on insta @girlempowerment]

For this week’s influencer’s [Sun + Mon], I’ll be featuring lady doctors that both have their own establishments. These women have done incredible things and have accomplished so much, so I’m ecstatic to share them with you.

Our next influencer is someone I’ve known for a while, as she’s one of my mother’s good childhood friends. When I first met Sabrina, the first thing I noticed was her awesome style and then how intelligent she was–which I really admired. She also is hilarious with dry humor that only some people get, but that’s the great thing about knowing her. Oh, and she was recently named one of the best plastic surgeons in America–I’m so excited for you all to learn about and hear from Sabrina.

Introducing Sabrina Lahiri , of Lahiri Plastic Surgery
Website – Lahiri Plastic Surgery 

Q: What is your current job title, and can you please briefly explain your career path?
A: I have been a Plastic and Reconstructive surgeon since 2002. I own my solo practice which includes a full service facility. During my years in private practice, I developed and built a facility which houses my practice, full service medical spa, overnight stay hotel, certified and licensed surgery center. My career path started at a young age. I knew early that I wanted to become a doctor. I attended University of California, Berkeley receiving a bachelor’s degree in Bioresource Science. I then attended University of Arkansas Medical School, followed by 5 years of General Surgery training at University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio and 2 years of Plastic Surgery training at University of Miami.

After all of this training, I opened my private practice in 2002 – It has been a busy whirlwind since.

Q: How do you deal with negativity towards women in the work place [if at all]?
A: Negativity toward me specifically as a woman has been apparent during my schooling, training, and private practice. Women are still expected to maintain very traditional roles. These expectations are difficult to change in our modern society. Because many ambitious women balance family and career they are perceived as not serious about success. Because many women are accomplished without a family they are perceived as unusual.

I handled negativity with the best attitude that I could. It is important to perceive negativity as the other person’s problem/issue not yours. You can’t let it affect you personally, have to learn to process it mentally and move forward. It is important for women to prove themselves with their intelligence, drive, and insight and not get caught up negativity.

Q: Have you ever felt unsure of yourself or felt that you weren’t “enough”, and how did you overcome that?
A: I think everyone has insecurities about themselves at times, but that is normal human nature. Successful women learn that life will have up and downs, successes and failures. We learn important lessons from all of these. It is important to maintain confidence in your talents and passion.

Q: Who are your role models or mentors that you look up to?
A: My mom and dad.

Q: What are other things you do [hobbies, projects, interest] that you feel passionate about?
A: I have had many interests and hobbies outside of work, it is important to maintain balance in your life. I love horseback riding. I have a passion for attending any sporting event, collecting artwork, and fashion.

Q: What do you do in your free time to relax?
A: Exercise, watching sports, reading, studying fashion.

Q: What career and/or life advice would you give to your twenty-year-old self?
A: Follow your heart and passion in life and work. If you don’t have a true passion for your career choice, it will be difficult to enjoy work on a daily basis. Enjoy every day to its fullest. Be confident. I am lucky to have found a career that is my passion.

Q: What does Girl em[Power]ment mean to you?
A: Girl em[Power]ment means that women and girls can achieve anything a man can. Women influence the world everyday and in countless ways.

There you have it. I think it’s so important to remember that women and girls really can achieve anything a man can. Stay tuned for Wednesdays post, featuring another [awesome] lady Dr.
Xo, Flannery

all grey please.

sometimes I’m just really in the mood for one solid color palette. grey happened to be it today, so it seems.
monochramatic looks have always resonated well with me, especially when paired with stripes [what doesn’t look good with stripes really].

get this look:: grey tshirt, Target // bralette, For Love and Lemons // sweatshirt around waist, Target // skirt, Walmart // booties, Dolce Vita // photo credit:: Nyck Renard

DSC_9494

DSC_9552 DSC_9591

DSC_9486 DSC_9594

For those interested, I almost had a [kind of kidding kind of not] panic attack when getting to the top of the watch tower while on location. NOT for the faint at heart, or fear of heights kind of people. Great pictures and funny story though I guess…

Xo, Flancake

Girl em[Power]ment – Natalie Navis

Girl em[Power]ment – A Series of Short Essays.

Over the next few months Flancake.co will be bringing you the Girl em[Power]ment series, which consists of interviews with several working women of all ages in different stages of their career. These are women I not only find inspiring and interesting, but who I think women of all ages should know about and learn from. These women hold careers in several different industries, from creative design to politics. They’ll give us an inside look into what their job is like, how they got there, share their advice for twenty-somethings, and touch on what Girl em[Power]ment means to them.

[be sure to follow along on insta – @girlempowerment]

Our next influencer is someone I’ve been so honored to get to know through Lola, who really taught me several things not only about the creative world, but in life in general. Natalie Navis has had an unconventional career path, but never the less it’s so inspiring. She is one of the most giving humans I know, always putting others before herself [sometimes when she shouldn’t!]. She is also so positive, her contagious energy is like wildfire. When I started this series, she was on my list of women who really inspired it as a whole.

Introducing Natalie Navis, of NatalieNavis.com
Insta – @natalienavis
Blog – NatalieNavis.com/blog
Website – NatalieNavis.com

Q: What is your current job title, and can you please briefly explain your career path?
A: Self-employed style blogger + wardrobe stylist + brand consultant, former attorney, and probably something else [TBD!]

I currently run my style blog and wardrobe styling business, which I’ve been working on in addition to my day jobs for four years now. I’m so excited to say that i’ve recently added freelance brand consultant to the mix! I’ve been assisting small businesses, particularly in the boutique beauty and retail industries, with brand development and an assortment of strategies that go along with that, including social media strategy and management, e-commerce development, creative direction of photoshoots, event production, merchandise planning, and more. It’s been so rewarding to help other girl bosses grow their businesses. My career path to this point has been anything but traditional! Prior to working in the fashion sales industry, I was an attorney. I attended law school right out of college, graduated, passed the bar exam, and worked for about four years as a research attorney for judges at the trial and appellate court levels. While the career was extremely rewarding intellectually, I felt that the introverted nature of my position did not fit my personality. I will always be grateful for my legal education and experience for giving me confidence in all business endeavors— and my strong backbone! When the judge I was working for during my fourth year retired, I knew the time was right to take a leap of faith into the fashion industry— something i’ve always wanted to do. I started working as a key holder/senior sales specialist for standard style [standardstyle.com] in Kansas City. I jumped in head-first, wore as many hats as possible, and learned so much during this first year. The company has had huge success growing their in-house line, Baldwin [baldwin.co], and it’s a privilege to say that I got my start there. Next, I moved to Lola [shoplola.com] in Fayetteville, Arkansas, to be the retail director and flagship manager. Again, I learned so much about the industry and about myself during this time, and I will always be grateful for the experience I gained and relationships I built. While living in Fayetteville, I became a certified Barre3 instructor [barre3.com], and that role remains extremely important to me. Although it was very difficult, I recently relocated back to my hometown so that I could embark on the next phase of my journey. My motto lately has been this quote: “every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being redirected to something better.” It takes courage, but I believe that you have to let your path reveal itself to you— even if that means going through some transitional phases in life.

Q: Where did you go to school and what was your major?
A: I graduated from the University of Nebraska College of Law with my J.D. in 2009. Prior to that, I attended Creighton University and Graduated with my Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 2006. I was a total literature nerd in college— fitzgerald is still my favorite. Creighton is a liberal arts college and I was exposed to so many different paths while there, but when I graduated I was unsure about what I wanted to do. At my dad’s suggestion, I figured “why not go to law school?” I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the “why not?” attitude for everyone when it comes to law school. Generally, it’s a means to an end [practicing law]. But if you are a lover of learning, then law school is an incomparable education in how to think, read, write and communicate. While I’m not currently practicing law, I use my legal education daily in my approach to communication and all business matters that arise in life— and there are a lot! I feel more confident in my career because of my law degree, and that’s invaluable, particularly when you’re an entrepreneur.

Q: How do you deal with negativity towards women in the work place [if at all]?
A: More often than “negativity” towards women in the work place, I see “inequality” towards women in the work place— and obviously inequality is a negative. I’m a believer that women have a long way to go in our society. The reality that we have never had a female president, that there are very few women CEO’s in Fortune 500 companies, and that females on business panels aren’t being asked the same questions as their male counterparts [see here— posted by flancake on facebook!], makes it clear that we have not achieved equality. inequality towards women in the work place is highly dependent on the industry you work in. for example, I saw much more evidence of inequalities in the legal field [a male dominated profession] than in fashion [a female dominated profession], but that’s part of the problem. In the midwest, law is often seen as a more respectable, high-powered career than fashion, and therefore more suited to women— regardless of the huge amount of capital generated by the fashion and apparel industry in our country. I believe all industries should be gender neutral, and that women and men should be equals in any industry, from law to fashion. Unfortunately, I have dealt with a fair amount of comments from male superiors during my career that I qualify as sexist. My best advice? Stand up for yourself and call out those comments. Don’t ignore them or [ever] laugh.

Q: Who are your mentors or role models, and why?
A: My babcia [“grandmother” in polish]: She’s a WWII labor camp survivor and immigrant to the US, and is still independent at age 90. She made a life for herself in america, learned to speak broken english, and raised three successful children while an uneducated, poor immigrant. Seeing life through her eyes gives immigration a whole new meaning to me. She exemplifies survival, independence, and determination. I know my strength comes from her— and probably my [sometimes] feisty nature too!

My mom: she’s been an educator for 25 years at the college level. She believes in teaching her students how to think, not what to think. The other day, she was commenting that the test given by her department had been “dumbed down” to the point where it would be easy for the students to pass it, just so that the instructors could say they were successful in teaching. My mom wouldn’t give that test, or at the least wouldn’t let it count for much of her students’ grades. She won’t lower the bar for anyone and sees potential in everyone, no matter their race, gender, or background. She has taught me how to approach everyone I meet in life with the same level of respect and that we are all capable of so much more than we think.

Megan hurley: owner of barre3 fayetteville and my former employer. This woman is a champion for all women [and men], has a heart of gold, and is the definition of “real.” She balances owning her successful business with being a full-time mom to two boys, and does it with such grace. no matter what, she makes the time for others. She has created the most nourishing community where all clients come to feel their best, physically and mentally. If you’re in the fayetteville area, you have to attend one of her life-changing classes. She is the one who asked me to become a Barre3 instructor [not once, but twice!], had faith in me when i didn’t have it in myself, and mentored me as a grew. Because of her, I became invested in Barre3, a company that helps its clients lead a balanced life through fitness, nutrition, and mental wellbeing, while fighting for real beauty. You can see Barre3 founder Sadie Lincoln’s words on that topic here.

Q: Have you ever felt unsure of yourself or felt that you weren’t “enough”, and how did you overcome that?
A: All the time, every day at least once. I have battled depression and anxiety for much of my life, and while I’m sure I would experience feelings of uncertainty and inadequacy regardless, these feelings can be even more amplified and often. It does help to know that I’m not alone and that we all, as humans, feel uncertain of ourselves at times. My faith is a large part of me being able to get through times when my feelings of uncertainty and inadequacy are the most severe. My other grandmother, who passed away this past Spring, taught me about the importance of faith, and the peace that can be found in turning my worries, doubts, and fears over to God. I also have extremely supportive family members and friends who encourage me when I doubt myself. My ability to overcome feelings inadequacy is due in part to their unconditional love. The real relationships I’ve built throughout my life mean the world to me, and it’s these relationships that I come back to during times of self-doubt. That and turning off all social media for a while, because “comparison is the thief of joy” and we all need to remember that social media is a place where people create their perfect lives [probably not the best place to go when you’re feeling down about your own].

Q: What are other things you do [hobbies, projects, interest] that you feel passionate about?
A: I have always been passionate about the arts. I grew up playing piano [and later teaching piano lessons at a local arts and music studio] and dancing [classical ballet and modern]. I was a member of a local modern dance company all the way up until moving to KC in 2013. Barre3 has been my substitute for dance since then, and I’ve become very passionate about a living a balanced life through fitness, nutrition, and mental health. It goes without saying that fashion is a major interest of mine— I guess obsession might be a more accurate term. For me, my love for fashion goes beyond an appreciation of it as the main form of creative self-expression. To me, fashion is empowerment. It’s dressing yourself in a way that makes you stand taller, walk more boldly, and take on life with confidence and enthusiasm. Fashion has so much transformative power, it just has to be harnessed. I also have a heart for a serious cause facing our society today: mental healthcare. My legal career opened my eyes to the gravity of this issue, and I’m committed to making a difference and working on behalf of this cause. One thing I think we can all do is be gentle with each other. This quote is so true: “be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”— and most of the time, you have no concept of how great that battle may be.

Q: Is there anyone you think that is making a difference in women empowerment that you think we should all know about?
[Natalie is too kind, I tell you.]
A: How about you, miss flannery wilson?! You, my dear, are making a difference in women empowerment by creating this series! I am so inspired when I see young women in your generation who realize the significant platform that you have in being a blogger and woman in the fashion industry, and using this platform to work for a greater cause than self-advancement. Don’t get me wrong, i’m all for girl bosses advancing themselves and showing the world how powerful women can be, but when a woman uses that audience to advance a greater cause, that’s what’s truly inspiring. You’re a perfect example of a woman who has a heart for making a true difference for others. This women empowerment series demonstrates that you are going to do big things in this life that really matter, and I’m so excited to see your future unfold!

Q: What do you do in your free time to relax?
A: Relax? What’s that? [just kidding.] I’m working on getting better at this. I love to go to barre, yoga, and dance classes, go for long walks outside [preferably with my family dog, but I’ll borrow pretty much anyone’s pup as long as he or she walks on a leash], read blogs, read books, and be a social butterfly. Ok fine…. and drink wine and watch netflix and eat nutella out of the jar [there, I said it].

Q: What career and/or life advice would you give to your twenty-year-old self?
A: Well, I have the benefit of having a brother who is 22 years old, so I give him the same advice that I would give myself at his age: it’s ok to have a plan for your life or a roadmap or a path that you think your life is going to take, but you have to recognize that life quite possibly won’t go according to that plan, and that’s going to be fine— you will survive. Don’t try to control everything or you’ll go insane. Embrace the journey and let life take it’s course. Even though it’s really hard, try not to let the detours or barriers dampen your spirit. Keep persevering on, and try to enjoy the moments along the way. Life really is a crazy ride.

Q: What does Girl em[Power]ment mean to you?
A: Girl em[Power]ment means both self-empowerment and helping to empower other women. While I love to read style blogs and I so admire the greats in the fashion industry, the women I truly respect are the ones who are making a difference for other women. I’ll be the first to admit that style and creativity are very admirable traits, but it’s ultimately what you do with those gifts that makes you great. Girl em[Power]ment is about using your talents, gifts, and skills to do something great for yourself AND for other women— working for a cause, standing for a marginalized population, bringing attention to a significant social issue, etc. I say, while you’re building that empire, why not empower other women along the way?

Girl em[Power]ment – Samantha Imparato

Girl em[Power]ment – A Series of Short Essays.

Over the next few months Flancake.co will be bringing you the Girl em[Power]ment series, which consists of interviews with several working women of all ages in different stages of their career. These are women I not only find inspiring and interesting, but who I think women of all ages should know about and learn from. These women hold careers in several different industries, from creative design to politics. They’ll give us an inside look into what their job is like, how they got there, share their advice for twenty-somethings, and touch on what Girl em[Power]ment means to them.

[be sure to follow along on insta – @girlempowerment]

Our next influencer was one of my supervisors at Seventeen, who I’m so glad I got to know. She was one of not only the nicest women, but was always more than happy to help with anything myself and the other interns needed. She’s an extremely hard worker but will always make time for whatever you need, and has got a few different jobs under her belt – so she knows whats up.

Introducing Samantha Imparato, of Seventeen Magazine.

Q: What is your current job title, and can you please briefly explain your career path?
A: Integrated Marketing Associate at Seventeen. I was the marketing and sales intern at Redbook during both the fall and spring semesters of my senior year of college. I was lucky enough to receive a job offer to be a sales/marketing assistant at the magazine after I graduated. I worked in this role for about 2 1/2 years, and then was offered a position to work for both Redbook and Seventeen as the Marketing Research Coordinator. After a year working for both titles, I was offered a spot on Seventeen’s marketing team. I’ve been in my current role for over a year now.

Q: Where did you go to school and what was your major?
A: I attended Rutgers University. I was a double major in Journalism/Media Studies and History.

Q: How do you deal with negativity towards women in the work place [if at all]?
A: Fortunately for me, I don’t often come across negativity towards women mainly because I work in a very female dominated industry. The women I currently work with and those I have worked with in the past have always encouraged and supported one another.

Q: Have you ever felt unsure of yourself or felt that you weren’t “enough”, and how did you overcome that?
A: There have definitely been times when I’ve felt unsure of myself, but that’s the nature of any new experience, job, project, etc. I’ve learned to give myself a pep talk during times of uncertainty. I’ve come this far in my career through hard work and I know if I just continue to put forth my best effort, even in situations where I don’t feel confident because of a lack of experience, I will succeed. Also, most things don’t seem so scary anymore once you’ve accomplished them so I always try to keep that goal in mind. I know that if I just do something once, I’ll be able to learn lessons from it and improve the next time. I don’t think anyone should let uncertainty hold them back either because you miss out on so much if you don’t step up and give it a try. I try to follow this advice even outside of the workplace.

Q: What are other things you do [hobbies, projects, interest] that you feel passionate about?
A: I’m OBSESSED with my dog, Spencer, and spending time with him. He’s only a puppy right now so he can get a bit rambunctious, but I love seeing his happy little face when I get home from work every day.

I also love fashion and shopping. I could spend hours online looking at fashion boards on Pinterest or blogs online trying to get some inspiration. Other interests of mine include music, traveling, reading, working out and investing an obscene amount of time in TERRIBLE reality television. Also any chance I get, I head to the beach. I’m a summer girl, so the hotter the weather, the better.

Q: Is there anyone you think that is making a difference in women empowerment that you think we should all know about?
A: When I think of women empowerment and people that are able to make a difference, Emma Watson and Mindy Kaling are come to mind.

Emma Watson is extremely intelligent and articulate. She knows how to use her status in the public eye to raise awareness for women’s rights and gender equality. It’s important for young women [and even more important for young men] to see someone like Emma speak to these issues as a way to learn more about equal rights.

Mindy Kaling is talented, down-to-earth and breaking down barriers for females in the entertainment industry. I remember reading her first book [“Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?”] and learning that she actually wrote many episodes of The Office [a show I loved!] Each episode she wrote was one of my favorites and I was so inspired to see a woman in a male-dominated industry make such a name for herself. She’s honest and true to herself, which makes her all the more likable.

Q: What do you do in your free time to relax?
A: In my free time, I usually head to the gym because I always feel accomplished after a really grueling workout. I’ll also online shop, but mostly I just end up putting things in my shopping cart and never actually purchasing them. I’ve got clothes in shopping carts all over the internet! When I really need to relax, I usually listen to some music or catch up on whatever I recorded on my DVR.

Q: What career and/or life advice would you give to your twenty-year-old self?
A: The biggest piece of advice I could give my 20-year old self is stay focused and never compare your journey with anyone else’s. Realize that everything does happen for a reason and be grateful for the experience you are gaining. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions and volunteer for something you’ve never tried before. And, always be nice…to EVERYONE!

Q: What does Girl em[Power]ment mean to you?
A: Girl em[Power]ment is about encouragement, inspiration and influencing other women to be successful against all odds. It’s about reminding women that they have a voice in this world and they are far more than just “good enough.”

I hope you enjoyed hearing from Sam! Especially her advice on if you feel unsure of yourself, just remember that “most things don’t seem so scary once you’ve accomplished them”. Stay tuned to hear from the next influencer + follow @girlempowerment on insta for updates!
Xo, Flancake

[graphic by the talented Courtney Urich]

 

leopard lovin’

I’m back at creating editorial content!
[of course I’ll be continue the #girlpowerseries–but friday will now be for regular content]

this look:: vintage leopard fur [a serious find, but here is similar] // tshirt via target // bralette via For Love and Lemons, similar here // faux leather leggings via Spanx–these are miracle pants // black scarf, stolen from my mother // photo credit:: Nyck Renard

DSC_9148DSC_9166 DSC_9170DSC_9137 DSC_9135

Xo, Flancake

Girl em[Power]ment – Chloe Curnel

Girl em[Power]ment – A Series of Short Essays.

Over the next few months Flancake.co will be bringing you the Girl em[Power]ment series, which consists of interviews with several working women of all ages in different stages of their career. These are women I not only find inspiring and interesting, but who I think women of all ages should know about and learn from. These women hold careers in several different industries, from creative design to politics.They’ll give us an inside look into what their job is like, how they got there, share their advice for twenty-somethings, and touch on what Girl em[Power]ment means to them.

[be sure to follow along on insta for updates – @girlempowerment]

Our next influencer is a fellow blogger, and a gal with serious style–Chloe Curnel. I’ve been following Chloe on insta for a few years now, after initially seeing her fab style via a boutique she worked at. It’s been so fun following along as she’s graduated, moved to a new place + started a cool job, and recently got engaged! Keep reading to learn more about this fab fashionista who’s with it.

Introducing Chloe Curnel, of Dillard’s Corporate 
Insta – @chloeelisec
Blog – Nomad en Vogue

Q: What is your current job title, and can you please briefly explain your career path?
A: I am a fashion stylist for Dillard’s corporate advertising. I graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2013. Before graduation, I went through the career center at the University and interviewed for Dillard’s Executive Development Program (EDP). I landed the job and in June, started working in the Div. 4 buying office as an assistant buyer as part of the program. Phase two of the program, I was sent to work as an Area Sales Manager at the Dillard’s flagship store in Little Rock. It was when I was out at the store that I decided I did not want to return to the buying office. So I left the program, and voiced to upper managment that I wanted to work in the advertising department. I interviewed with the Vice-President of Advertising, Creative Director, and Studio director at Dillard’s and was offered the position of fashion stylist this past January.

Q: Where did you go to school and what was your major?
A: I was an apparel studies major at the University of Arkansas.

Q: How do you deal with negativity towards women in the work place [if at all]?
A: Luckily, I haven’t many encounters with this, but I am a firm believer in actions speak louder than words. Work hard, be kind, be professional, and that is what will make you successful in your career. Don’t give anyone a reason to treat you differently just because your a women. A co-worker gave me some wise advice. She said that “As women, we have to build each other up. Make each other stronger, and praise each other for accomplishment.” This is SO true and SO important. Women have a tendency of letting envy and jealousy get the best of them in the workplace. We can’t do that, we have to stick together and help each other learn and grow.

Q: Who are your mentors or role models, and why?
A: My mom, Karen Curnel, for her caring and loving spirit, and her ability to follow her passions. She just decided to take up horseback riding in her fifties! She is not afraid to try something new.

My sister, Kelly Stuckey. She is driven, artistic, and stays true to herself. She has the most giving spirit and makes an amazing leader. It has been so inspiring to see her career path grow. [see Kelly’s profile here]

My old boss and dear friend, Becca Brisiel. She also, has such a kind, giving spirit. She was the best boss I will ever have. She lead by example. She taught me the importance of staying true to yourself, as well as the importance of kindness in the workplace and giving back to your community.

Q: Have you ever felt unsure of yourself or felt that you weren’t “enough”, and how did you overcome that?
A: When I was working as an area sales manager at Dillard’s, I had multiple times where I felt unsure about my managing skills. I had 18 employees under me, and at times, was in charge of the whole store. I had employees of all ages and backgrounds, and sometimes it was difficult for me to be confident, demand respect, and feel in charge. I am by nature not a confrontational person, and being a manger puts you in some confrontational situations where there is a need to be authoritative. I had to overcome the fact the I was young and lacked experience. Everyday I learned something new about my team and myself. When I would make a mistake, I would do my best to learn from it. I sought out help from my bosses and fellow co-workers when I needed it, asking “How would you handle this situation?”. I learned that I couldn’t manage everyone the same and that it would take different tactics to gain respect from my employees. It was the most difficult job I think I will ever have to do, but it is the job that taught me the most.

Q: What are other things you do [hobbies, projects, interest] that you feel passionate about?
A: Yoga, photography, fashion, antique shopping. I also have a style blog called Nomad en Vogue. It is just a hobby, but it is a great creative outlet. I’m planning a wedding right now, which has turned into my biggest hobby, or should I say “time consumer” at the moment! Hah!

Q: Is there anyone you think that is making a difference in women empowerment that you think we should all know about?
A: My sister, Kelly Stuckey! She owns a small business in Fayetteville called Crown Beauty Bar. She empowers women everyday at work and through social media!

Q: What do you do in your free time to relax?
A: Just give me HGTV, a glass of wine and some cheese. Just kidding! But, not really. I love to antique shop, usually alone. I could wander around looking at antiques forever. But I feel the most relaxed when I’m with my fiance and our dog, Bella.

Q: What career and/or life advice would you give to your twenty-year-old self?
A: Don’t sweat the small things, and don’t worry about what you can’t control. Also, don’t worry so much about what others think because you can’t make everyone happy. Stay true to who you are, be kind, work hard, and always look for the positive. Also, take care of your body and wear sunscreen everyday because the wrinkles will come!

Q: What does Girl em[Power]ment mean to you?
A: Girl em[Power]ment is all about us gals supporting each other and building each other up. The internet is can be such a positive or negative tool. With all the negativity that resides on social media, it is SO important for girls to take a stand and not take part in it. Life is hard enough, we need to use the tools we have to empower one another.

As Chloe said, it’s so important to support each other + build each other up, which really is what Girl em[Power]ment is all about!! Stay tuned for the next influencer, and be sure to follow along on our insta–@girlempowerment.

[graphic by the talented Courtney Ulrich]

ChloeGirlPowerSeries

Girl em[Power]ment – Katy Nelson

Girl em[Power]ment – A Series of Short Essays.

Over the next few months Flancake.co will be bringing you the Girl em[Power]ment series, which consists of interviews with several working women of all ages in different stages of their career. These are women I not only find inspiring and interesting, but who I think women of all ages should know about and learn from. These women hold careers in several different industries, from creative design to politics.They’ll give us an inside look into what their job is like, how they got there, share their advice for twenty-somethings, and touch on what Girl em[Power]ment means to them.

[be sure to follow along on insta – @girlempowerment]

The next influencer is the spunky Katy Nelson, whom I’ve had the privilege of knowing through my mother for a few years now. I’ve always known Katy was with it, and when I came to college I was able to figure this out even more. She’s helped to guide me through several challenges throughout my college career and help me grow along the way. She’s such a smart and giving woman in way more than one way, so I’m thrilled to share her profile.

Introducing Katy Nelson, with the University of Arkansas. 

Q: What is your current job title, and can you please briefly explain your career path?
A: Assistant Vice Chancellor for Development at the University of Arkansas – After I graduated from college in 1987, I moved to Washington, DC because there were several alumni who also lived there. I held several administrative jobs and decided I should get a graduate degree because the job market was so competitive. I really wasn’t that good at administrative work and I didn’t enjoy it.  I received a graduate assistantship and moved back to Fayetteville in 1990  to get a Master’s Degree in Communication. While in graduate school, I taught two freshman level communication courses and tutored athletes. I discovered there are staff careers in higher education and decided to move to Austin, Texas in 1993 (again because I had several friends who lived there). I also tutored athletes until I landed a job as an Academic Advisor in the College of Natural Sciences.  I joined the Academic Counselor’s Association and volunteered to be on the planning committee for our annual conference. I got to know my colleagues and built my professional network.

After a few years in this role, I became the Coordinator of High School Outreach and Recruiting for the McCombs School of Business at UT. I met with prospective students, parents, hosted admissions sessions, and traveled to cities throughout Texas. We had an emphasis on diversity, and I had to raise money for our programs. This is how I got my introduction to fundraising. The Dean of McCombs reorganized the Development Office and I was hired as the Director of Corporate Relations. I was in this role for eight years before I moved back to Arkansas in 2007 to be the Senior Director of Development and External Relations for the Sam M. Walton College of Business. In 2013 I was promoted to Assistant Vice Chancellor. I manage the fundraising efforts of the colleges and Corporate and Foundation Relations. I also provide strategic oversight of interdisciplinary, strategic objectives, and manage relationships with key donors.

Q: Where did you go to school and what was your major?
A: University of Arkansas, B.A. and M.A. in Communication

Q: How do you deal with negativity towards women in the work place [if at all]?
A: I have been fortunate in that I really have not experienced negativity because I am female. One reason could be that there are generally more women in student service and development roles in higher education than men. I have also had many colleagues who are“strong”, competent women who have been recognized for their accomplishments.

Q: Who are your role models or mentors, and why?
A: Char Dison was one of my mentors at UT Austin. She taught me two very valuable lessons: 1) pick your battles; 2) never burn your bridges. The first one is important because there are always going to be processes, procedures, and people who bother you in the workplace and you simply can’t fight them all. You have to let the little annoyances go and focus on what you really believe in and how you can make a difference. The second one is important because you may be opposed to one person on any given day but have to work with them in a team the next. You also never know who your boss might be one day. I know of colleagues who acted unprofessionally toward another person, and that person became their boss later. Needless to say, they were fired shortly thereafter.

Q: Have you ever felt unsure of yourself or felt that you weren’t “enough”, and how did you overcome that?
A: There have been several occasions when I have been working on a special project and I wasn’t sure how to approach it. Sometimes it was due to lack of confidence in my ability, other times the task seemed overwhelming and daunting. I like to talk through issues, challenges, etc. with others to get their ideas for solutions. Others can offer a fresh perspective.

Q: What are other things you do [hobbies, projects, interest] that you feel passionate about?
A: I like to ride on the Razorback Greenway, hike, and do yoga. I also like going to classes at Clubhaus gym. I am a social person and the group classes are a good fit for me.

Q: What career and/or life advice would you give to your twenty-year-old self?
A: Your first job out of college does not have to be your career job. If I had not had the administrative positions in DC, I may not have gone back to graduate school. Graduate school led me to a career in higher education. I think finding the right career can involve trial and error. Try something and if you don’t like it, move on. Be respectful and professional to everyone, even if they drive you crazy and you don’t like them.

Q: What does Girl em[Power]ment mean to you?
A: Girls can be confident leaders.

[don’t be left out – @girlempowerment has you covered]

graphic by the talented Courtney Ulrich

unnamed-95

NWA Boutique Show – Giveaway!

I’m so excited to share with you all that I’m partnering with NWA Boutique Fashion Show this year! Even more exciting, I’m having a GIVEAWAY!! If you live in or around the NWA area, this one is for you. From now until Tuesday, Oct 27 you have a chance to win two passes to the NWA Boutique Show Girls Night Out event!

Girls Night Out is a portion of the NWA Boutique Show that takes place Friday, Nov 6 from 5-9pm at the NWA Convention Center [1500 S 48th Street, Springdale AR]. Passes to this event not only grant you door prizes, private shopping, free return admission to the actual shopping on Saturday, a DJ, a catered treats AND a cash only bar–but the event benefits the Junior League of NWA, as well as the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary!

TO ENTER x WIN TWO GIRLS NIGHT OUT PASSES:
-Follow @NWABoutiqueShow x @Flancake on insta
-Like and tag a friend on @Flancake’s instagram post
That’s all! Winner will be announced//contacted via instagram Wed. Oct 28 so the passes can be sent to you!!

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT NWA BOUTIQUE SHOW:

This is the biggest shopping event of the season! Over 150 merchants will be in attendance, along with thousands of one-of-a-kind custom items to shop from. Home decor, gifts, clothing, gourmet food, holiday decor, children’s items, art and more. The 11th show will be held Nov 6 and 7, at the NWA Convention Center in Springdale, Ar.

There are three shopping events, plus general admission shopping.
[learn more via NWA Boutique’s Website, Facebook, and Instagram]
VIP Shopping: Friday Nov 6, 9-11am [$25 at the door//$20 online] Benefits the Junior League of NWA
Get first dibs on all of the best shopping, live music, swag bag, cinnamon rolls from Cinnabon by Schlotzky’s, Mama Carmen’s coffee, free general admission all weekend and more.

Girls Night Out: Friday Nov 6, 5-9pm [$15 at the door//$10 online] Benefits the Junior Civic League. Enjoy door prizes, private shopping, a DJ, free return admission on Saturday, catered treats, and a cash bar.

Cookies With Santa: Saturday Nov 7, 10am-2pm, included with General Admission Ticket [$5] plus donations to the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary. Kids can enjoy cookies and have their picture taken with Santa!

General Admission: Friday Nov 6, 11am-5pm and Saturday Nov 7, 9am-6pm [$5 at the door]

Good luck, and hope to see you all at these events!
Xo, Flancake

[photo credit:: Nyck Renard]

Girl em[Power]ment – Kelly Stuckey

Girl em[Power]ment – A Series of Short Essays.

Over the next few months Flancake.co will be bringing you the Girl em[Power]ment series, which consists of interviews with several working women of all ages in different stages of their career. These are women I not only find inspiring and interesting, but who I think women of all ages should know about and learn from. These women hold careers in several different industries, from creative design to politics. They’ll give us an inside look into what their job is like, how they got there, share their advice for twenty-somethings, and touch on what Girl em[Power]ment means to them.

[be sure to follow along on insta – @girlempowerment]

Our next influencer is someone I’m so excited to share with you all, as she was one of the inspirations for the entire Girl em[Power]ment series!! I have known Kelly Stuckey for about four years now, when I first met her via instagram stalking and just HAD to get her to help my hair. She has a heart of gold, she is a giving soul like none I’ve ever seen, and her strong faith  inspires those around her, myself included. Oh, and she’s a small business owner + wife + puppy mom, to all of which she excels tremendously. Those around her feel her radiance on a daily basis, which is why I’m so glad she is today’s influencer.

Introducing Kelly Stuckey, owner of Crown Beauty Bar 
Insta – @hellokellystuckey + @crownbeautybar
Website – CrownBeautyBar + SheSitsPretty

Q: What is your current job title, and can you please briefly explain your career path?
A: My current title is Senior Hairstylist, makeup artist and co-owner of Crown Beauty Bar with my husband, Zac Stuckey.  I am also a certified educator for Davines Hair Color and She by Socap Hair Extensions. My career path started at a young age of 14 working for my Dad’s photography studio and has taken so many turns from salon receptionist to Interior Designer to PepsiCo modular planner to CitiScapes advertising sales to restaurant hostess while attending beauty school and now a small business owner.  It’s incredible and encouraging to see the way it has all come together in my life, and how each step paved the way for the next.  Every place I worked I met people who played into my next role and even met my husband along the way!

Q: Where did you go to school and what was your major?
A: I first attended the University of Arkansas Fort Smith and received an Associates of Art.  Then I transferred to the University of Arkansas and graduated with a Bachelors of Interior Design.  Three years later I attended Paul Mitchell The School Arkansas for my Cosmetology License.

Q: How do you deal with negativity towards women in the work place [if at all]?
A: Thankfully I work in a female dominant environment where we get along and lift each other up!  The most negativity I ever deal with is when a client doesn’t like things about their own hair and or looks.  I love enhancing each woman’s individual beauty and teaching them ways to carry that home.  I want to shatter any negative images they have about themselves.

Q: Who are your role models or mentors, and why?
A: My first impactful role model is my Mother, Karen.  She was and still is always there for me.  I know stories of how she worked hard and did what she could to provide and take care of me after my parents split at a young age.  She always made me feel beautiful and supported especially during times when I struggled with my weight, career, or life choices. 

I’ve also been blessed with a Spiritual mentor, Kristen Davis, pastor at Life Connection Church in Rogers, AR. She came along at the perfect time in my life, helped me see the power of Jesus’ love and grace, and was instrumental in helping me learn more about how to study the Bible.

I would say my biggest mentor is my husband, Zac. He is a strong, steady constant in my life and has a true servant heart.  He pushes me to be better and is always incredibly supportive.  It’s incredibly cheesy to say, but he does make me feel like anything is possible so long as we do it together; he gives me wings! I love owning a business with him, doing life, and can’t wait to become a parent with him next April!!!

Q: Have you ever felt unsure of yourself or felt that you weren’t “enough”, and how did you overcome that?
A: Oh yes, a lot when I was younger. In fact, I still struggle with this insecurity from time to time. I didn’t know my true identity until I really let God into my life and got serious about pursuing a relationship with Jesus at age 28. Anytime I allow the lies of this world to fill my mind, I stumble into insecurity. I remind myself the truth is I was made by God and for his purposes… before I understood that, nothing made sense.  Now I read and reflect on what his Word says about me for affirmation on who I am.

Q: Is there anyone you think that is making a difference in women empowerment that you think we should all know about?
A: It’s amazing to live in a community with so many female small business owners and creatives in my local community!  Here’s a few businesses to check out: Kirsten Blowers owner of Riffraff, Amy Hannon of EunaMae’s, Valere Gregory of Valere Rene Handbags, Becca Brisiel of Maude Boutique, Chelsea Hermez of Pigmint. Another woman shaking things up in California is Shanna Noel, creator of Illustrated Faith, helping creative women express themselves and learn more about God’s Word through a journaling bible.

Q: What do you do in your free time to relax?
A: Walk my dogs, jeep rides with my husband, read, doodle in my journaling bible, zone out on social media.

Q: What career and/or life advice would you give to your twenty-year-old self?
A: Be patient, work hard, do not expect anything, and be thankful for every opportunity to learn. We all graduate and think “okay, I made it.. now where is my awesome job and salary?” It’s just not that easy all the time!  I truly believe in hard, honest work and being a self-starter.  The other thing is: your 20’s are just awkward!  I had so much fun in my 20’s, but so much confusing unknown too.  It’s not that I have it all figured out in my 30’s now, but I am more secure in myself and truly trust God has plans for me.

Q: What does Girl em[Power]ment mean to you?
A: Girl em[Power]ment means looking past the stereotypes created by the world and other people to see who I am and what God created me to be.  I have been given gifts and talents to use to help others and it’s up to me to make that happen with every opportunity that I am presented with! I love working in an industry where I can make women feel beautiful and teach them tricks they can use at home to create their look on a daily basis.  I also want to empower my employees to be self-starters, find the lesson in every situation, and take ownership of the career and life they have a heart for.  You can’t sit and wait for everything to fall into your lap.  You gotta hustle while keeping your eyes and ears open.

All I can add is that this is so good. As I myself will soon be graduating, it is easy to just assume that I’m a graduate so I should be able to easily find that awesome job and even more-awesome paycheck. But as Kelly said, “you gotta hustle while keeping your eyes and ears open.”
Stay tuned for next week’s influencer–these ladies just keep rocking it!
Xo, Flancake